Before completing the TTB federal basic winery permit application, you should make sure that you can answer the following five questions:
Who are the owners of the winery and how will the company be organized? Has the company been registered or incorporated (if applicable)?
A very important step and one that should be determined before filing a winery permit application with TTB is how the company will be organized and who the owners or members of the company will be. TTB will require you to submit information in regard to how the company is organized along with personal information on the owners or members. The company may also need to be registered to do business in the state in which the winery will operate, especially if the company is not incorporated or registered in that state. It is important to determine this from the outset.
Does the business have an EIN with the IRS?
One of the first steps to starting a new company is to obtain an Employer Identification Number with the IRS. If your company is brand new, you will need to register for an EIN. If you are using an existing company to start your winery, you should have an EIN.
Is a space or premise solidified and are you renting or owning the space?
Of course, the winery premise space is incredibly important for the TTB application. The space should be secured well before the permit application is submitted, as many questions on the actual application ask for specific information about the winery premise. Be prepared to answer questions about how the building is secured, who has access to the building, and overall measurements of the space.
Do I need to obtain a bond for my TTB winery permit application?
A bond is a legal guarantee that federal excise taxes will be paid for wine produced or stored at a specific winery location for that specific winery. The required penal sum varies greatly depending on the size of the winery and the bond can be issued in several different ways. As of August 2016, the winery bond is a mandatory part of the TTB federal basic winery permit application.
Do I need a state license, too?
In all likelihood, the answer is yes. The type of license needed at the state level will vary greatly depending on the state and on the winery. Some states have created farm winery licenses or micro winery licenses which can be more approachable in both the license fee and the application itself. Note that there may be other state agencies or local agencies to register with, but it will depend greatly on where your winery is located.
The above is intended as a helpful guideline for budding wineries and is in no way an exhaustive list. The TTB federal basic winery permit application is thorough and you should be well prepared when filing your permit. It can save a lot of time to work with an experienced professional who can guide you through the process and point out potential issues with the application before it is filed with TTB.
For more information about this topic, contact Robert Lehrman.